Virtual Memories Show 279:
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“As a kid, I was scared of Superman comics. Robots, too.”
Illustrator-painter-cartoonist-musician Hal Mayforth joins the show to talk about making art out of the everyday and stretching beyond that into new terrain. We get into his daily sketchbook practice (along with transcendental meditation), the shelf-life of illustrators’ styles, the music he makes out of found vocals, and how he balances personal art alongside his professional work. We also talk about his explorations into AbEx and how he made the shift from illustration to fine art, how he built his portfolio by doctoring alt-weekly articles with his own illustrations, why playing in a band offsets the solitary aspects of making art, his Screaming Yellow Zonkers animation that never aired, whether living in New England (Burlington, VT especially) helped or hurt his illustration career, the inspiration of EO Wilson on his Biophilia paintings, teaching himself portraiture by working his way through an old World Book encyclopedia, his campaign to get May 4th declared a national holiday and why he feels upstaged by Star Wars fans, and why he chooses soul over technical perfection (and Lightnin’ Hopkins over Steve Vai). Give it a listen! And go check out Hal’s art and listen to his music!
“I wanted to be a rock star; the arts thing came later.”
“I think George Herriman is like Shakespeare, Michelangelo and Leonardo in one package.”
Want a little bonus podcast action? Check out this minute-long video of Hal playing his favorite guitar prior to our pod-session:
Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!
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About our Guest
Humorous Illustrator Hal Mayforth was born and raised in Vermont. He was lucky to have graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in Fine Art because he spent most of his 4 years playing rock and roll in bars. He started his illustration career in Boston, returned to Vermont to raise 3 boys with his wife and recently, like a yo-yo, returned to the greater Boston area. Hal has been the recipient of many awards and honors including a swimming award at Camp Abnaki in the early ’60’s. In addition to drawing little guys with big eyes and big noses for money, he is also serious about drawing in his sketchbooks every morning and fashioning those drawings into paintings.
Hal Mayforth’s paintings have been featured in exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the US, including the Housatonic Museum in Bridgeport, CT; the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA; La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles; the Sylvia Schmidt Gallery in New Orleans; Monserrat College in Beverly, MA; the Wood Gallery of the Vermont College of Fine Art in Montpelier; the Virginia Lynch Gallery in Tiverton, RI; the Furchgott-Sourdiffe Gallery in Shelburne, VT; Studio Place Arts in Barre, VT; The Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, VT, The Quimby Gallery at Lyndon State College in Lydonville, VT and the Tarrant Gallery at the Flynn Center for Performing Arts in Burlington, VT.
As a nationally recognized humorous illustrator, Hal’s work is published in national magazines and newspapers, including Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, Rolling Stone, Forbes, Outside, Road and Track, Reader’s Digest, Mother Jones, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe.
He’s also recorded 4 albums.
Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Hal’s home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Hal & his sketchbook & studio by me. It’s on my instagram.